‘I’ve earned the right to enjoy my retirement, complainers be damned!’

Oct 28, 2020
May has found herself in a tricky situation with her neighbours. (stock image) Source: Getty

The Covid-19 Pandemic has created all manner of new situations that are unfamiliar: social distancing, wearing masks and employees working from home. It’s hats off to the vast majority of people around our country who have proved their flexibility and versatility in changing their habits in order to adhere to these new norms.

I downsized prior to my retirement from a 1300 square metre property to something less than half that size with less maintenance yet enough room to grow vegetables and enjoy outside barbeques in the warmer weather. It’s a lovely position which affords me my independence and backs onto a nature reserve with far less work and expense. Isn’t that what retirement is all about?

With Covid-19 my neighbours have both been working from home even though in Queensland our borders are now slowly reopening and our infection rate is low. 

Half their luck. I certainly would not want to be catching public transport to and fro my employment every day especially when the virus was at its worse.

The issue is that the neighbour recently told me that I was making too much noise in the garden making it difficult for them to focus on their work. They can hear me talk to the visiting magpies and wallabies, and when I make move heavy pot plants around the yard. Oh, and my singing is “annoying”. This is the second time they have commented that I am retired whilst they are both fully employed.

Firstly, I am retired, not dead. 

I am the convenor of a little community library, I attend workshops to learn new skills, fundraise for charities, grow succulents which I sell to make a few dollars for Wounded Heroes, and have undertaken several online study programs if only to keep the brain engaged. Any excess vegetables that I grow are freely given to my pensioner friends, and I am involved with the local community centre for the over-50s and numerous other community organisations. There is truth in the adage that retirement can be a full time job. I would spend only an hour a day in the garden, perhaps double that when I mow the lawn.

Secondly, I earned my retirement. I’ve worked hard for years, putting others first, and living rather frugally for the pleasure. Combined with a bit of luck I retired a little younger than most. Bite me.

Lastly, we all have to make adjustments. We all have to be aware that people cope differently under pressure. We all have to be aware that our lives have changed over recent months.

Does that mean that because some folk now work from home others are no longer able to treat their home as their own? I do not own a dog, have grandchildren, nor a swimming pool so my noise output is minimal. I do have a courtyard that I look forward to using for entertainment purposes during spring and summer. Does this mean I should not be entertaining friends during the week, but only on weekends when the neighbours aren’t working?

I’m not sure how to navigate these new courtesies. Any suggestions please?

Oh, and just so you know, like so many others of this vintage, when it comes to singing I only ever remember a line or two of any song. 

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